|“||This world is mine now. All of my enemies are in prison, except for young Prince Yubi, who has escaped to to the primitive planet called "Earth". Go there and get him!||„|
|~ Zanu in the show's opening.|
Zanu is the overarching antagonist of Joe Camp's short-lived 1983 TV series Benji, Zax & the Alien Prince. He is a manipulative and oppressive tyrant who has taken over the distant red planet Antars and wants to capture Prince Yubi. He is the boss of Darah and Khyber as well as their Level 10 droid named Zord.
He was portrayed by Ken Miller.
Zanu has taken control of Antars, which is "way off in another galaxy" as Yubi describes in the episode "Double Trouble" while rehearsing exactly who he is and where he comes from. Zanu has the king of Antars killed and imprisons the queen. Lisa LeMole plays the queen in the episode "Goodbye Earth". Yubi's monologue from the episode "Double Trouble" puts it nicely, "My mother is there, probably in prison. My father is dead. I have a guardian, sorta. He's not really a person. He's a droid. Also from Antars. And those people in the black van. You guessed it! From Antars!".
Darah and Khyber, along with their level 10 droid Zord, are sent to Earth to find and to capture Yubi. Most of the plot involves Darah and Khyber chasing Benji, Zax and Yubi in a black Chevy van, and their efforts almost always end in failure, usually due to some failure of one or both of them combined with Benji's intelligence and loyal assistance. There is never any doubt that Benji is a major heroic figure for this show who seems to do an often better job protecting his highness than the level 2 droid assigned to him.
In order to survive on Earth, Antarians must wear a special bracelet, known as a cipher. In the episode "The Locals", Prince Yubi's cipher is stolen by a gang of boys known as "The Vikings" and he gets very sick without it. Within seconds of the cipher's removal, Yubi faints, suggesting to more observant viewers that this life support device helps Yubi to breathe in some way. This is logical since the atmosphere is likely to be very different on Antars than on Earth. Every Antarian in the series is highly protective of their cipher, experiencing the immediate onset of fatigue as a result of its theft (Benji steals first Darah's then Khyber's cipher in the episode "Gold Mine" to force them to share a cipher and therefore rendering them unable to detect the nearby orgon signature from Trask's ship).
- Zanu is thought to be the main antagonist of the show. However, Darah and Khyber are the true main antagonists, because they appeared in the actual series, while Zanu only appeared in the intro, partially due to the short run of the series.
- Based on Yubi and Trask's discussion on Zanu, he is moddelled on Adolf Hitler, another charismatic tyrant with a similar rise to power and held particular idealistic ideologies.
- The intro in the later episodes is the same as the earlier intro, except the background is slightly different and that Zanu's head isn't reflecting as he orders his hunters to capture Yubi while Darah and Khyber don't appear in the intro.
- Zanu has been rumored by some fans to be the leader of the Drones in Benji: Space Rescue.